Malignancies arising from biliary tract epithelia, or cholangiocarcinoma, are rare tumors that have a poor prognosis. The incidence of these tumors is gradually increasing in many countries. Recent advances have been made in identifying some of the risk factors, and the need for appropriate classification is emerging. The diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma is often difficult and requires multiple complementary studies. The use of molecular approaches may improve the diagnostic utility of biliary cytology. Treatment of these tumors is complex, and there are many different treatment options. Although surgical resection can be curative, many patients with cholangiocarcinoma are diagnosed at an advanced stage when only palliative approaches can be used. Photodynamic therapy is emerging as a useful modality.
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